CFBA is featuring Julie Lessman's "A Passion Most Pure" this week, and I have to say that I devoured this story like the world's finest dark chocolate. And, that's saying something because in recent years I haven't been drawn to historicals very often. But, two of my writing friends have worked to change all that. Maureen Lang is one, and Julie, today's featured author, is the other.
Julie has very kindly agreed to send the winner of the drawing I'm holding on this blog their very own, pristine, autographed copy of "Passion," for their own. My own copy is dog-eared and marked up LOL. I feel like those publishers who put stickers on their books that say "guaranteed you'll like this book or your money back." Well, you won't have to ask for your money back if you win this book, nor will you want to!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.
So lets get on to my interview with Julie, and then I'll give details on how to enter the drawing for the book.
1. Welcome to A Writer's Journey, Julie. You said you started A Passion Most Pure when you were twelve years old after reading Gone With the Wind. How much of the story is still in there and what did that entail at the time? Obviously it wasn’t full of the passion that you include now, was it?
Uh … actually, there WAS a lot of sensuality and passion in my first attempt back then. You see, I've ALWAYS been this way—obsessed with romance! J I used to sneak downstairs at night when I was kid and watch romance movies on the TV when my parents were sleeping.
That's why after reading Gone With the Wind at the age of 12, I went CRAZEEE and started writing my own novel, which I titled “When Tomorrow Comes” (now a Janette Oke title, how weird is that?). Back then, the story still entailed the love triangle between Faith and her sister (whose name was “
2. A Passion Most Pure has been published in the CBA market, but you have said you have a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational.” What do you mean by that?
I am writing for the CBA market because my books will always be ingrained with a strong spiritual message. But I have to admit, I have a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” which I hope would cross over into the
3. You’ve joked about being the “Queen of Rejections”—can you tell us a little about that?
Uh, yeah … anyone who attended the 2005 ACFW Conference will remember me as the poor slob who waved her hands wildly in the back of the room when Brandilyn Collins asked who had the most rejections in a year. I won hands-down with 19 (at that time) and went on to garner in excess of 45 (both agent and publisher rejections, including three received AFTER I signed a 3-book contract with Revell Publishing!). Even my agent, Natasha Kern, blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months.
4. LOL, I remember that conference! And now look where you are. What an encouragement to other authors who are still waiting for "the call."
Your series is called the Daughters of Boston, so I assume the second sister, Charity, is the heroine of Book 2, A Passion Redeemed. I’m a bit curious as to how you are going to have a heroine that readers love to hate! Was it difficult to write Charity’s story?
Difficult? Oh, no, absolutely not! It was the easiest of the three books to write (a 500-page book that I wrote in two months while working my part-time job!). A Passion Redeemed will release in Sept. 2008 (in time for the ACFW book signing ... YEAH!), and I have to tell you that it is my absolute FAVORITE of the three books in the series.
Why? I just love, love, LOVE Charity—she is so wonderfully flawed and SO fun to redeem! Yes, you feel like slapping her now, (I actually received a reader e-mail asking me to slap Charity for her) but I promise you will LOVE her before the book is done (and the hero, too, of course—be still, my heart!). A Passion Redeemed reminds me a lot of the old-time movies where the hero and the heroine butt heads like crazy (think “A Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara or “It Happened One Night” with Clark Cable and Claudette Colbert). In fact, it was so fun and easy to write, that I feel as if I hit my stride in this book, making it a very FAST read, according to my sister who finished it in 8-10 hours.
5. You label A Passion Most Pure as a “Family Saga Historical Romance,” and I can certainly see why—the family plays a very important role, and readers fall in love with each and every one of them. Do they play an important role in the next two books in the series as well?
Oh, my, YES!! And I want you to know that I love these characters SO much, that they factor heavily into each of the three books. I love series, but one of my pet peeves is when I fall in love with a hero and heroine in book 1, and then they are only mentioned in books 2 and 3. Not in this chickadee’s books! Each book in this series gets thicker and more complicated because I incorporate lots of sub-stories about the subordinate characters.
Besides, I love writing about families in depth, exploring the emotional highs and lows of a large family (as one of 13 kids, I wonder why!). I especially enjoy incorporating the love affair between the mother and father of the family because that is so critically important in today’s society and so overlooked. You should never stop having a love affair with your spouse—it’s the greatest thing a mom and dad can give to their children—a tender and passionate love between each other. And it’s so much fun for me to incorporate in my books the wonderful lessons I’ve learned with my own husband … uh, humbling though they may be! J
Well, as a child, I had an imagination like a runaway train! And, of course, I was a very emotional kid (big surprise there). I wanted to relate to Jesus on an intimate and personal level—you know, see Him … feel Him? So I would press my nose against the screen of my bedroom window and squint toward my sister’s bedroom right next to mine. I’d imagine I see Jesus’ sandals kicking in the breeze along with His long, white dress as he sat on her windowsill. That image comforted me so much as a child—and took a lot of heat from me as a bitter teen—that I never forgot it. Through at all (even agnosticism in my early twenties), Windowsill Jesus never let me go, finally bringing me into a truly intimate and personal relationship with God at the age of 23, which became THE turning point for a very lonely and very angry little girl. I owe Him my life.
8. Key advice for other writers?
9. Parting words?
Well, first I want to thank you, Pam, for hosting this interview—it was a lot of fun! And one of my favorite ways to close an interview is to share this really cool quote I found that some people attribute to Maya Angelou: “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.” I absolutely LOVE this quote because it is the total essence of what my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, is all about, and I hope and pray this message will resonate with every person who picks up my book. God bless!
Have Julie and I whetted your appetite to read A Passion Most Pure? You can order it at Amazon, but you may want to hold off and throw your name into the proverbial hat to win a signed copy here. All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog article. PLEASE, PLEASE, BE SURE TO LEAVE CONTACT INFORMATION. It is most frustrating to have a comment left without any means of contacting the person if they win.
I will draw the name next Monday, February 4, 2008.
Thanks, Julie, for visiting here today. It's been fun!